Skip to main content

tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 13, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

7:00 pm
good evening, everyone. it is 10:00 here on the east coast. we have a hostage situation playing out in a bank in louisiana. first, though, late new word on the intercepted al qaeda messages that sparked the closings of 19 emba sis around the world. a source telling cnn's barbara starr that u.s. code breakers recognized a number of specific words that signalled the attack. three intercepts got their attention. the first was from the leader of the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula group. the second said to be a response from al qaeda leader iman al zawhira. a u.s. official declined to discuss specific code words, but told cnn "there was a sense of imminence, a sense of the
7:01 pm
overall area at risk and the known actors." there was this, officials said, of great concern. u.s. drones launched a series of attacks on al qaeda, including one over the weekend in yemen, which killed four suspected al qaeda operatives associated with the embassy closings. u.s. officials are not comments on that. fran townsend joins us now. fran serves on the cia and homeland security externaled a vitzry boards. also is peter bergen and on the phone, former fbi official phillip mudd. fran, what are you hearing? >> look, more than a decade since 9/11, we have come to understand the sorts of code words that they use. you learn them from people who you captured, from surveillance and foreign intelligence services and we've gotten much better. we listen for that.
7:02 pm
this is an indication that we have matured in terms of our intelligence capability to identify the threat and act on it. >> phil, you say picking up this type of intelligence is standard operating procedure, but the information should have never been leaked to the public, correct? >> i don't think it should have been. there's a big difference what we know and telling the american citizen it is there's cause of concern in the middle east. there's a difference when you're playing a cat and mouse game against terrorists. it's legitimate to tell americans we have access to al qaeda officials, but to tell them we're intercepting messages tells them how to hide. >> does it surprise you how much has leaked out about this? there was that earlier report termed a conference call. >> yeah, look, it's very damaging, because as we develop capability to intercept their communications, what you don't know want them to know is we are
7:03 pm
able to intercept what they believe is secret communications. when you signal that to them, you signal it's time to change the way they talk to each other. >> this is not the first time that al qaeda used codes. didn't they use elaborate coded messages before 9/11? >> before 9/11, they had a very elaborate code. they kind of communicated about the targets. they talked about the trade center being the faculty of town planning. they talked about four exams for four targets and the exams happening in three weeks. we've also seen much lesser elaborate codes like the word wedding for a potential attack. >> fran, u.s. embassies have reopened, but these folks aren't going away unless they're eliminated. >> that's right. we've seen this extraordinary number increase of drone strikes in yemen, presumably at targets. we don't know this for your,
7:04 pm
targets related to the threat. we had heard from officials that there was an influx of what they believed were operational types into yemen, around the time they closed the embassies. they're taking overt and covert action. you see the results of the drone strikes but they won't confirm who has been hit. >> phil, does al qaeda now shift its m.o.? are they operationally nimble enough to shift gears? >> look, they've shifted in the past, and i could tell you, having watched them for years, they have american citizens in their midst. they will read newspapers. they read the internet. the problem they face, the communication can be very difficult because he's so isolated and pressure is so high. so they're going to be reading news reports tonight, but it's
7:05 pm
not like they can call him up and say let's change code words tomorrow. >> peter, we talked about this a little bit. how do you see this now that we have some distance on this alleged terror threat, do you see it as al qaeda resurgent or as a sign of the difficulties they have trying to launch an operation now? >> if this show was about an attack that happened on a u.s. embassy, we would be having a very different kind of show. we're having a show about embassies that closed because the messages were intercepted. so as fran says, it shows the fact that we've been pretty successful, the u.s. government has. so we can celebrate the fact that this threat seems to be washing out. we've had threats similar in the past in the fall of 2010, the state department released a europe-wide alert for an al qaeda attack. there was a lot of criticism about the vagueness of this
7:06 pm
warning, similar to what happened here where it was unspecific. and in tend, the threat warbled out. -- washed out. >> peter bergen, phillip mudd, good to have you on, fran, as well. the week-long search for hannah anderson, it ended with james dimaggio shot dead by law enforcement. it involved the work of hundreds of people, civilians and law enforcement alike, including steve german, who told a story. >> we had been working the case for nearly a week, and it's interesting to point out that this was -- that the sheriff that called in the tip about the idaho woods and seeing them, that was our 200th tip when the sheriff called in this tip, it was -- we were trying to determine how valid it was. when the car turned up in idaho,
7:07 pm
obviously it became a central area of focus. once we were able to determine that the car was there, it became -- it was really the needle in the hay stack we had been searching for. we went to the lake, it's cooled morehead lake. it's a small lake. tiny little mountain lake, and it's probably no larger than on olympic size pool. we circled a few more times and focussed in on that area and we were able to see that it was a blue tent. the horseback riders reported they saw a blue tent at honeymoon lake, which was about three miles away. they reported that they saw her and a cat and dimaggio up at morehead lake. when we saw the blue tent, we definitely knew that we would have to research further.
7:08 pm
and then we were actually able to verify that it was a male and a female with blonde hair and a small animal. so at that point, we knew we had something extremely valuable. it appears they were going about their normal activity. they gathered firewood and walked around and it didn't appear like they were doing anything out of the ordinary. but they were the only ones in this -- in that area. we searched the area and there was no one else within several miles. 10:00 we launched and we had them located at 10:45. it was extremely quick. there was a lot of speculation, they could be there, they could have made it up to canada. there's always a lot of speculation in these types of things, but it's always best to start where were they last seen and work a spiral out from that. when we got confirmation that
7:09 pm
she was okay, it was like a weight lifted off of everybody's shoulders, and a job well done. it's a very rewarding feeling. it's the type of feeling that we get on a lot of cases. but in a high profile case like this where you realize how imminent danger was for her, and you realize what you did, it's a good feeling. it makes my job worthwhile. >> let us know what you think on twitter. just ahead, the latest in the bank hostage situation that's happening right now in louisiana. you're looking at the scene there. the cost to boycott the winter olympics in russia over russia's anti-gay law. greg luganis joins us next. right now, 7 years of music is being streamed.
7:10 pm
a quarter million tweeters are tweeting. and 900 million dollars are changing hands online. that's why hp built a new kind of server. one that's 80% smaller. uses 89% less energy. and costs 77% less. it's called hp moonshot. and it's giving the internet the room it needs to grow. this&is gonna be big. hp moonshot. it's time to build a better enterprise. together. but when it comes to investing, i just think it's better to work with someone.
7:11 pm
someone you feel you can really partner with. unfortunately, i've found that some brokerage firms don't always encourage that kind of relationship. that's why i stopped working at the old brokerage, and started working for charles schwab. avo: what kind of financial consultant are you looking for? talk to us today.
7:12 pm
7:13 pm
in a moment, the debate over boycotting the winter olympics in russia because of russia's stance on gay rights. first, what's at stake with or without the winter games. this may, a young man's body was found. killed according to one suspect because he was gay. something his family denies. such is the stigma. it's a dangerous time to be gay in russia or to speak out for gay rights. protesters across the country are routinely beaten, sometimes by anti-gay thugs as police
7:14 pm
watch. sometimes the police themselves do the beating. and now in addition to the physical danger, there's a legal dimension. russian president putin outlawing "the propagandaizing of nontraditional sexual relationships." they say they're only protecting children from information about gays. the law prompting calls for a boycott of the olympics, something the international olympic committee said they would penalize and russian authorities said they would punish under the law. >> translator: i believe it is not enough to impose fines on gays for engaging in the propaganda of homosexuality. we need to ban them from donating blood or sperm.
7:15 pm
>> that anchor said he was just talking about organ transplants. phil black is in moscow and joins us now. phil, we've seen the images and heard horror stories how gay people are treated in russia. is there much outrage within russia itself? >> reporter: no, anderson, there isn't. this has long been a socially conservative society, one with little tolerance of open homosexuality. so there's always been violence against gay people. difficult to draw a link between recent violence and this law. by gay people here strongly believe it sends a message, reinforces a message that there is an impunity against them. >> we're seeing this video, one or two protesters who put up a rainbow flag, being hauled off by police, beaten by crowds or the police. how likely is it that gay athletes could be prosecuted?
7:16 pm
>> it is difficult to say, because the law itself doesn't specifically define what gay propaganda is. but it could include simply carrying a rainbow flag, displays of affection, and could possibly be seen by children. that is in theory, we believe, a breach of the law. so if that happens during the games with athletes or visitors showing support for russia's gay community, it comes down to the russian authorities to determine what to do under those circumstances. it's a challenge for them. they want their laws to be respected, but they also want these olympic games to be considered a success. >> is there any reason to believe that russian officials will ratchet down these anti-gay laws? >> not really, no. the law does have tremendous support in this country. one of the theories is, its key purpose was to secure the support of the country's conservative majority. there's been a lot of pressure
7:17 pm
on the russian government. but the russian government doesn't respond well from pressure, doesn't like to back down. little reason to believe it does in this case. >> phil, thanks. greg luganis, perhaps the greatest diver america has ever produced. he is a legend, he's also gay and has some ideas how he would protest if he were in russia. we spoke earlier tonight. greg, obviously you're an olympic gold medalist, you're also gay. what are your thoughts about what's happening in russia right now, particularly the talk of boycotting the olympics? >> i'm not in favor of boycotting. i lived through two boycotts. few athletes have that opportunity. there's a short window of opportunity for young kids who trained their entire life for this, whether they're gay or straight. i was in competitions where i
7:18 pm
was called faggot, and there was t the fag buster campaign. it was very difficult sometimes when we would travel internationally, because nobody wanted to room with the fag. so i usually ended up rooming with one of the coaches. >> no one on your own team wanted to room with you? >> yeah. usually i would find one person on the team that was, you know, secure enough in their own sexuality that they knew it wasn't an issue. >> there have been a number of columnists here in the states that suggested the athletes on the u.s. team carry rainbow flags or other athletes do that. do you think that's a good idea? i think it's against ioc rules. >> yeah, it's a really tough call, and you know, unfortunately the iioc is not
7:19 pm
following their own charter. in their charter, the entire olympic movement is about not discriminating. and here they're being very select in what they're enforcing. and they have come forward to say that they would take action toward those athletes who do demonstrate. it's really unfortunate that the ioc is not living up to -- they're talking the talk but not walking the walk. >> so you wouldn't wear a rainbow flag or try to make some sort of a statement while competing? >> oh, i probably would. and get a rainbow speedo. >> i'm not sure if they make those. greg, it's great to have you on the program. thank you.
7:20 pm
i appreciate it. richard served as white house senior advisory during the clinton administration dealing with gay and civil rights issues is. what do you make of what's happening in russia right now and the idea of a boycott? >> i think it's a big story. it will probably be the biggest international gay rights story we've ever seen, and we have to keep all the options on the table. prin principlely, the pressure should be to move the olympics somewhere else. >> is that even possible? >> anything is possible. we have to -- they'll take a strong stand that any country that violates human rights like this, any country that treats a population like this can't be allowed to host an international sporting event where the idea is welcome to everybody. >> do you think in the future,
7:21 pm
regardless of what happens in russia, in the futch they are the olympic committee should take into account a country's treatment of minorities? >> i think they have to. it's part of their charter and they seem to have been asleep at the switch for doing so. >> their charter does not talk about being against discrimination of sexual -- based on sexual orientation. do you think that should be rewritten? >> it should be added, but their charter covers it in spirit. this notion that they would now punish athletes or anybody for protesting, even if we go there, is ridiculous. if the olympics are actually held and the russians don't change this law, there are going to be massive protests. the russians will have to decide whether they're going to arrest these protesters. it is going to be a huge mess and big story. >> in it is in russia, do you
7:22 pm
think athletes should carry a rainbow flag or doinging? >> i think they must protest this mistreatment of a class of people and this violence that is being perpetrated by this country. >> do you think if russia had passed laws, outlawing the propagandizing jewish faith or black culture, there would be more outcry than there is about gays and lesbians? >> i think obviously yes, there would be, if they were target women or a racial minority, they are targeting other communities. there's the story in "the new york times" today about the targeting of the imgrant community. remarkab remarkably, this is what we saw in 1936 when hitler said he would suspend the anti-jewish laws during the 1936 olympics. of course, he suspended the
7:23 pm
laws. they took down the anti-jewish signs. they cleaned things up for a little while. then of course, most people participated in those olympics and we know what happened after that. >> a lot more to come on this, no doubt. coming up, breaking news tonight. that hostage situation happening right now in a bank in northeastern louisiana. a gunman holding three people hostage. i'll speak to the head of the louisiana state police coming up next. also tonight, what changed dr. sanjay gupta's mind about medical marijuana? there's been a tremendous response to his documentary. i'll speak to him coming up. th . what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank.
7:24 pm
your money needs an ally. [ male announcer ] ingeniously uses radar to alert you to possible collision threats. and in certain situations... [ beeping ] can apply the brakes. introducing the all-new 2014 chevrolet impala with available crash imminent braking. always looking forward. while watching your back. that's american ingenuity to find new roads.
7:25 pm
diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'.
7:26 pm
7:27 pm
welcome back. i'm susan hendricks with breaking news from northeastern louisiana, where a gunman is holding hostages inside of a bank in st. joseph. the suspect has been holding the hostages, who are bank employees, for about ten hours now. just a short time ago, state police announced that negotiations are continuing. but that one of the three hostages has been released. listen here. >> one of the females had a chance to talk to the family. they were notified. they know of it. we're in the process right now. state police are interviewing that lady to get as much information as possible. i want you to remember, it's a fluid, active scene. we still have two hostages in there. we have a hostage taker.
7:28 pm
they've been in there since 12:30. we have every tactical element that we need at the scene right now. >> as you just heard, it's a fluid, active scene. joining me right now is jane nedderville. this is an ongoing situation. i'm sure you don't want to speculate, but what can you tell us about the negotiation process? one person has been released as the suspect is armed. but what is he saying to authorities? >> you're getting the same information that we're getting. no other news to report other than one hostage has been released and we can all be very thankful for that. we still have two hostages being held and it's our main concern right now to get these two hostages out safe and back home with their family members. we're just asking everybody to remain calm and to pray and to
7:29 pm
dispel any rumors, not spread any rumors and that's where we are right now. >> jane, it's a long process. what do you know about the hostage taker? i heard that he was born in southern california, he's new to louisiana. is it true that his family owns a store in the area? do you know if he may know the people he's holding? >> if he's from the parish, he would know the people he's holding hostage. the only thing i can confirm is he family does own a convenience store and he was an employee at a convenience store here. >> in terms of his motive, just share what you can right now. do you know if this is a robbery that went wrong or is there something else he was looking for going into that bank? >> i can't speculate on that. i have no clue what the motive may have been. >> what about his family, are they involved? are they helping out? >> from my understanding, the
7:30 pm
authorities were trying to contact family members of the suspect in order to get them involved in the negotiations. that's as much as i can tell you. >> jane, as you said, the safety of the two hostages who are still in there is, of course, your number one priority. could this last through the night, depending on how the negotiations go? >> yes, it could last through the night. the situation could be ongoing for quite some time. people just need to remain clone, stay abreast of the situation and continue to remember these folks in their prayers. we all know who they are and we're all concerned about their family that they have at home and their safety where they are now. so we need to keep them in our prayers and hope that this situation can be resolved without anybody getting hurt, and that's the only thing that i can say for the hostage taker
7:31 pm
himself, if he's listening, i hope he is listening, that he needs to let these people go. >> jane, we're so thankful that you were able to get that message out. we're hoping that too, as well. good talking to you. >> yes, ma'am. now to a "360" news and business bulletin. an update on baby veronica and her father. dustin brown turned himself in to authorities yesterday. the adoptive parents live in south carolina and that state wanted to extradite him. but today, the governor said she won't do anything about that extradition request until after a court hearing next month. a juror in the whitey bulger trial is speaking out after the boston mobster was found guilty of 31 counts of racketeering and 11 murders. the juror says corruption in the fbi during whitey bulger's heyday left her disgusted. she admits there was tension
7:32 pm
during deliberations. >> i'm not sure a jury in the history of the united states has ever faced anything like this. we had 30 years of crime, we had many criminals before us. so many situations. and we had corruption in the government to top it all off. it was huge. two friends of boston marathon bombing suspect dzhokhar tsarnaev have pleaded not guilty for obstructing justice. paula deen no longer face es racial discrimination claims after a judge tossed out that part of the lawsuit, but the damage is already done from her admitted use of racial slurs in the past. according to, she's lost several million a year in income. but she has a net worth of about $10 million. take a look at america's newest millionaires, meet ocean 16 as they're called.
7:33 pm
the 16 workers from ocean county, new jersey, who won a third of last week's $448 million powerball jackpot. after taxes, each gets $3.8 million. we'll be right back. american express credit card, every purchase earns you 2% cash back, which is deposited in your fidelity account. is that it? actually... there's no annual fee and no limits on rewards. and with the fidelity cash management account debit card, you get reimbursed for all atm fees. is that it? oh, this guy, too. turn more of the money you spend into money you invest. it's everyday reinvesting for your personal economy. ♪
7:34 pm
[ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track. the power tools introduce themselves. all the bits and bulbs keep themselves stocked. and the doors even handle the checkout so we can work on that thing that's stuck in the thing. [ female announcer ] today, cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everyone goes home happy.
7:35 pm
dr. sanjay gupta's 180 on medical marijuana and why a lot of people are talking about his new documentary "weed" when "360" continues.
7:36 pm
7:37 pm
a cnn documentary that premiered two nights ago got tremendous viewership and a lot of reaction. chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta spent a year digging into medical marijuana and what he found made him do a 180 in his thinking. before we talk to him about that and the response of the documentary, i want to play a clip. he met a number of people whose lives have been changed for the better by medical marijuana. one is a little girl named charlotte. take a look. >> it was january 2012.
7:38 pm
afghanistan. about 7,000 miles away from his family in colorado, matt received this video from his wife, paige. >> it's horrible seeing these videos when i'm deployed. >> it was his 5-year-old daughter charlotte seizing. diagnosed with epilepsy, she was having 300 seizure a week, each so severe, it had the potential to kill her. they had tried dozens of drugs. >> we needed to try something else, and at that point in time, marijuana was that natural course of action to try. >> at home in colorado, paige searched for marijuana high in cbd that's the ingredient some scientists helps seizure. she found a small amount in a
7:39 pm
dispensary. >> the general consensus is nobody wanted it. >> she paid $800 and took it home. >> i had a friend starting a business making medicine and i said can you help me extract the medicine from this marijuana. i squirted it under her tongue. it was exciting and nerve-racking. >> holding charlotte in her arms, she waited. an hour ticked by. then another. and then another. >> she didn't have a seizure that day, then didn't have one that night. >> did you look at your watch? >> i thought this is crazy. then she didn't have one the next day, and then the next day. i thought, she would have had 100 by now. and i just -- i know, i thought this is insane. >> then paige heard about the stanleys. the six brothers and their green
7:40 pm
house of marijuana that is high in cbd. >> i said oh, my goodness. he says, i don't know what to do with it, but no one wants it. it's not sellable. i said, just don't touch that, because we need that plant. >> people have called us the robinhoods of marijuana. they say we sell pot so that we can take care of the kids. and the truly less fortunate. >> charlotte was the first of those kids. late spring, 2012. she tried the stanley special marijuana, and again, it worked. >> i can't tell you what that means to us. >> gets you, doesn't it? >> if it doesn't get you, something is wrong with you. she lived her life in a catatonic state. now her parents get to meet her for the first time. what a revelation. >> is child, two had had 300 seizures a week, was now down to
7:41 pm
just one every seven days. >> and it's kind of her example that was part of the reason you really have done a 180 on your opinion on this. >> yeah, i think just watching that story is unbelievable. but she's emblematic of a lot more patients. if you just look at the literature in the united states on medicinal marijuana, the vast majority of studies are designed to look at the harm. if you look at it globally, it doesn't look impressive. but then you realize they're looking for harm, about 6% to look for benefit. once you look outside the united states, in other countries and smaller labs and listening to the legitimate chorus of patients who marijuana works for them when nothing else did, then you start to dive into this and that's what really tempered my -- >> the u.s. government still classifies marijuana in the same
7:42 pm
category as lsd and heroin. >> that is not true. >> there's not a high potential for abuse? >> cocaine is a schedule two substance. you are more than likely to become addicted to it. there are many substances out there that are legal that you're more likely to abuse marijuana. it's not even close to the truth. with regard to medical applications, you saw, again, an example of that. but i don't want you to think this is anecdotal. people rely on conjecture and anecdotal stories. there is real science here. charlotte is one girl that represents lots of patients that marijuana has worked for them. let me just share with you, the united states government, through its department of health and human services, holds a patent on marijuana as a
7:43 pm
pro-techtant for the brain. >> how is it possible, that the u.s. government holds a pat snent >> they hold a patent on one hand and on the other say it has no medical applications. journalists are trained to hate hypocrisy. i've never seen it quite like this. >> you interviewed the director of the national institute on drug abuse. she said that if she was concerned that if the drug became universally legal, adolescence would have more access to the drug. that's something you hear from a lot of parents and people who work in the drug field that say it's a gatway drug. >> i don't think it's a gateway drug. to the sense that your body now craves other drugs as a result of marijuana, i don't think that's true.
7:44 pm
people that get marijuana illicitly are exposed to other drugs possibly and that may explain why they go to cocaine or heroin. i think anybody would be worried about kids taking this stuff. i don't want anybody's brain that hasn't fully developed taking this stuff. but the tradeoff should. be we will then deny people therapy that may be the only thing that works for them. i don't think that's the tradeoff. >> it's fascinating. you have gotten a huge response from this. >> it was a bit surprising. >> you apologized. you said i'm sorry that i was wrong about this. >> yeah. that's a tough thing to do for nibble. when i hit send on that, it's tough. but it's the right thing to do, because i didn't look deep enough at the evidence and the research that's going on there,
7:45 pm
and i think that we have been in this country misled. i said that. it's been terribly misleading over the last 70 years and i wanted to apologize for my role in that. but now it's important to look forward and say there is legitimate uses for marijuana and people who needlessly suffered during this period of demonization of marijuana should feel like they can maybe have some options in terms of treating their disease. >> sanjay, good to have you on. fascinating documentary. if you missed it, i urge you to watch it. you can watch "weed" this friday on cnn. just ahead, the security guard that's being called a hero for his quick thinking when that sinkhole opened up in florida. and david mattingly takes us inside one of these sinkholes. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪
7:46 pm
♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ trains! they haul everything, safely and on time. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪
7:47 pm
here we honor the proud thaccomplishmentsss. of our students and alumni. people like, maria salazar, an executive director at american red cross. or garlin smith, video account director at yahoo. and for every garlin, thousands more are hired by hundreds of top companies. each expanding the influence of our proud university of phoenix network. that's right, university of phoenix. enroll now. we've got a frame waiting for you. we'll take you inside the
7:48 pm
so-called devil's den, one of florida's nearly 20,000 none sinkholes, ahead on "360." ht am. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe even a little better. visit your eyecare professional today to ask about our newest lenses, transitions vantage and transitions xtractive lenses. experience life well lit. ask which transitions adaptive lens is best for you.
7:49 pm
welcome back. today we learned that sinkhole that swallowed up a three-story villa measures up to 120 feet
7:50 pm
wide, 15 feet deep. an engineering firm said tests have not turned up further cause for alarm. the amazing thing is no one was hurt and the security guard, richard chandley is being described as a hero. >> i went door to door beating on the doors, making sure they were safe. i went floor to floor, dot everybody out and at the time i got done, i just got them out and got out myself. >> the resort says some guest also be able to retrieve their belongings. it can be hard to wrap your mind around a sinkhole why and how they happen and what they look like from inside. >> reporter: it's just a few short steps down to an incredible underground site. >> this was the original cavity that collapsed in. >> reporter: a massive sinkhole, carved out of solid live stone by drops of water.
7:51 pm
so this is what a sinkhole looks like from the inside? >> from the inside, yes, before you fill it up with sand and dirt. >> reporter: if someone were living on top of this, they would be at risk? >> yes. >> reporter: jerry black says homeowners might be surprised to find out how common these are. what are the chances of someone having a house in central florida and living on top of something like this? >> very good. not probably as close to the surface as this, but you definitely have cavities of this size all over the state of florida. >> reporter: fossils found here show it's been around since the ice age. but no different, black says, than the sinkholes we see opening up today. these are just a few of his pictures. the one thing they all have in common is water. >> rainwater is going to turn into ground water. that's the device that dissolves the limestone and creates these cavities.
7:52 pm
>> reporter: what is unusual about this sinkhole, it's easy to get inside. called the devil's den, it's open to tourists for diving. and we go under for a look. i find that this steamingly plas -- placid pool of water is anything but. >> it's risen when we've had hurricanes and tropical storms, it's risen another 45 feet. >> reporter: the water is constantly going up and down? >> correct. >> reporter: down here it's easy to see how fluctuating ground water has wreaked havoc. i pass by bolders as big as cars sitting on the bottom. and the same forces are still at work, compounded by the demand for fresh water. >> it is progressively dropping yearly. that's basically over the whole state of florida.
7:53 pm
>> reporter: most striking for me is how appearances are so misleading. the cavern is even bigger below the water line, with passageways carved deep into the darkness. but most disturbing could be the view from up top. the round opening is deceptively small. little indication of the cavern that's just beneath my feet. until a hole like this opens up, there's really no warning, is there? >> correct. it is that random and that sudden. and it could happen obviously overnight or at any time. >> reporter: it can, and it does. with thousands of sync sinkholes opening up every year. >> incredible to see how big some are, and how widespread they are. coming up next, the "ridicu-list," find out who's on it tonight. you make a great team.
7:54 pm
it's been that way since the day you met. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing,
7:55 pm
stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. help the gulf when we made recover and learn the gulf, bp from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i can tell you - safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all drilling activity twenty-four-seven. and we're sharing what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger. and experience the connectivity of the available lexus enform, including the es and rx. ♪ this is the pursuit of perfection.
7:56 pm
♪ these are the hands a pediatrician. these are pioneering advances in heart surgery. and these are developing groundbreaking treatments for cancer. they're the hands of the nation's top doctors. kaiser permanente doctors. and though they are all different, they work together on a single mission: saving lives.
7:57 pm
discover how we are advancing medicine at join us, and thrive. time now for the "ridicu-list." tonight, a thank you to my fellow journalists who brave the elements s ts to bring us the . take the case a reporter in
7:58 pm
philadelphia live on the air when -- >> the captain that we spoke to said that car break-ins are down 28% this year, but he's urging people to keep their doors locked and they continue to communicate. maury flemming -- i'm sorry, something was going on behind him. >> behind him inside. do you know how distracting it is when a full moon breaks out? that reporter handled it like a pro. he is part of a crack team of journalists. you know what's even more distracting? just add a hurricane. >> people have been coming out. we're talking about dozens of people who have walked by me and i'm speechless. >> when you think about it, live news reporters are like the post office, delivering the news deterred by neither rain or heat or drunken idiots, nor snow. >> we've been out a couple hours. >> it's cold out here.
7:59 pm
>> some people are just out of their minds. what are you going to do? it's nuts. >> i met that guy last time i was in cleveland. he was wearing clothes at the time. any way, the circle back around was more than enough to seal his place in "ridicu-list" history. but if you're going to strip down in a snowstorm, you commit to staying in the picture. >> how long have you been out and what are you doing to stay arm? >> that's a good question. >> i'm sorry, that's a good question. thanks for being out here. >> we're going to turn it back to you. >> that is why they call it action news. sometimes the action is behind you. to all the reporters out there in the field right now, we salute you and to anyone thinking of pulling down your pants live behind a reporter, just remember, it's been done before. it's been done bigger and better, it's been done in hurricanes and snowstorms.
8:00 pm
so take a deep breath, take a minute and just butt out. because we're getting tired of blurring your junk on the "ridicu-list." that's it for us. erin burnett starts now. >> "outfront" next breaking news we now know how u.s. intelligence officials discovered a possible al qaeda attack on american embassies. they cracked their code. that news top of the hour. plus, senator rand paul comes "outfront." we'll talk birthers and sarah palin and a comment about tapping your phone that will probably surprise you. and a serial killer goes on a cross-country murder spree, and tonight the terrifying chilling video "outfront." let's go "outfront." ♪ good evening, everyone, i'm erin burnett, "outfront" we begin with the breaking news. cnn reports that u.s. intelligence officials intercepted communications that signaled an imminent terrorist attack on aman